Empire’s end


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When Trump becomes President of the United States, the true cost of the way elite Americans and the system they have created treat other Americans will start to be counted.

When Trump becomes President, the US will start building walls. His presidency will see tariffs on imports being put up. Immigration (legal or otherwise) will be vastly reduced. Walls between communities based on racial based definitions of shared values will be made greatly more acceptable. The ruinous arrogance of interventionist American foreign policy will cease. The States will crawl into a cave and lick the multitude self-inflicted wounds it has accumulated over the last few decades.

Behind its walls, prices will go up, employment will go down, government debt will accelerate once more, services will be cut and pretty much everyone will suffer. But the sales of guns will continue to accelerate and community violence will increase.

That is of course assuming that Trump doesn’t turn out to be the same as everyone else of his class and go back on his promises.

 

 

Loving Big Brother


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There’s only 2 articles written during June 2014 in this blog but they are well worth reading and pretty much encapsulates how I feel about the spiritual wellness business that’s sprung up like mushrooms everywhere. The writer calls it the Spiritual Industrial Complex which is also very cool.

First there’s this epic rant wonderfully titled Yoga-Whoring, MacMindfulness & the Spiritual Industrial Complex where the writer calls for all teachers and practitioners to pretty much stop servicing corporations, businesses and any other organisation involved in perpetuating suffering. Good heady stuff!

Second there’s this equally epic call for teachers and practitioners to take a good hard look at themselves namely: Is your spirituality bullshit? There are 11 questions in this post, each of them as cool as the first. My favourite is this beauty of a sentence within the question: Acceptance or Passivity?

“Real spirituality looks the dying kid on the poster in the eye, feels the fucking burn and feels compelled to act. Compassion is just a rumour until it’s in the muscle.”

Respect!

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Putting a $ value on life


In Malaysia last week, I happened to meet an Australian project manager working in Kuala Lumpur. He was horrified at the safety standards especially those covering migrant workers from Bangladesh. It turns out that when a company is liable for roughly $3500 USD if a Bangladeshi worker dies on site, the business case for acceptable safety standards becomes very hard to articulate.

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Bean obsession grows


For lunch today I had brown rice with black turtle beans in red onion and lime salsa sauce and a split fava bean dahl in an indian tomato based sauce with shredded kale and red silverbeet stirred in at the last minute. These were leftovers from two meals this week and they went surprisingly well together.

My obsession with beans, pulses, lentils etc has been growing steadily since we adopted a low meat diet a couple of years ago. However, the long cooking times has limited me mainly to split lentils during the week except during the times when I boil up the beans for the next night while cooking up the meal for the current night.

That obstacle exists no more.

Over the weekend, I bought an automatic electric pressure cooker.

Bung the beans in (preferably soaked overnight), select high pressure and punch in the time you want to cook it for. When it’s done, the machine keeps the beans hot. In the meantime, prepare the sauce or salsa and when that’s done drain and tip in the beans / lentils and either cook it some more or serve immediately.

My preparation time for going from dry to al-dente black beans has shrunk from 24 hours soaking and 2-3 hours of boiling to 20 minutes. Dried chickpeas at 30 minutes made them mushy enough to turn into hummus. Mind, it’s still far preferable to soak as that gets rid of the farty chemicals (it’s more important to do so for red kidney beans as they have additional chemicals that need to soak out).

Beans to try next: blue peas.

Labor’s big move during anti-poverty week


The verdict is in. With the latest Fairfax/Ipsos poll showing Malcolm Turnbull pretty much trashing Bill Shorten on every count of what Australia considers their PM should be, Labor’s desperate and quite pathetic attempt at smearing attracting attention to Malcolm Turnbull’s personal wealth and tax affairs has failed miserably.

It also gave Mr Turnbull a chance to demonstrate yet again that he has the gift of the gab:

“This country is built upon hard work, people having a go and enterprise. Some of us will be more successful than others. Some of us are fortunate in the turn of business. Some of us are fortunate in the intellect we inherit from our parents. There is a lot of luck in life, and that is why all of us should say, when we see somebody less fortunate than ourselves, ‘there but the grace of God goes me’.”

The unfortunate thing is that inequality and poverty are both increasing in Australia and last week being anti-poverty week would have been good timing for Labor to focus on how this government has done very little on both fronts. Instead, they opt for a policy-free personal attack.

Bravo, Bill, bravo!

PS: the paper on poverty by St Vincent de Paul, “Sick with Worry”, makes for harrowing reading. The society decided to focus on individual stories to paint a picture that statistics cannot easily tell: the misfortune and suffering of the poor. I guess that it is also an attempt to bring compassion back into the hearts of people who’ve had 2 years of the Abbott government and their media lackeys sinking the boot into the poor.

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